ORTISEI/STARNBERG, October 28, 2023
Maks Kasnikowski will take on Lukas Klein in Sunday’s singles final of the Sparkasse Challenger Val Gardena Südtirol. Poland’s Kasnikowski knocked out Federico Gaio of Italy, No. 3 seed of the ATP Challenger Tour 50 hard-court tournament in Ortisei, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 in the stage of the last four on Saturday.
The 20-year-old Warsaw native fired 15 aces and won 80 per cent of his first-service points to prevail after two hours and seven minutes.
Milestone moment for Maks Kasnikowski 🇵🇱
The 20-year-old becomes the youngest Polish player to reach a Challenger final since Jerzy Janowicz in 2010, and the fifth youngest in history!#ATPChallenger | @Maksiu_kasnik pic.twitter.com/pPFyioa7F7
— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) October 28, 2023
“I want to start by saying that Gaio is a very good player. He played incredibly well towards the end of the second set. Of course, I am satisfied with my performance this week. I haven’t thought about the final yet, but I will analyze my final opponent,” said Kasnikowski.
Klein, who battled his way through the qualifying in South Tyrol, defeated Billy Harris of Great Britain 6-3, 7-6(5). The 25-year-old from Slovakia didn’t face a break point and converted one of his own five break-point chances to advance in one hour and 17 minutes.
“It was a close match. Getting an early break really helped me,” said Klein after the match. “In the second set, I had several opportunities to break. I served well overall and I’m happy to be in the final here again, just like last year.” This marks Klein’s fifth ATP Challenger Tour final. His record so far: two wins and two losses.
Paulsen/Rikl triumph in doubles
Andrew Paulson and Patrik Rikl from the Czech Republic won the doubles tournament. The duo emerged victorious in a thrilling final against Maximilian Neuchrist of Austria and Jakub Paul from Switzerland of 4-6, 7-6 (7) 11-9 in the final.
Paulson and Rikl had to save a match point in the tie-break of the second set. They capitalized on their second opportunity for victory after 1 hour and 44 minutes. The winning pair received€1,900 in prize money along with 50 ATP Doubles Ranking points. Neuchrist, who had previously won the doubles title at the Val Gardena Challenger in 2015 with Sam Weissborn, had to leave the court as the runner-up today.